1863. Claret is leading Spiritual Exercises for the Carmelite Sisters of Charity of the school Plaza de San Francisco (Madrid).
1865. Claret patiently endures delays in his payments, because the country goes through a certain bankruptcy, and the Queen herself has sold part of her assets to meet government payments.
EARLY EXPANSION (1870-1899)DIVISION INTO PROVINCES: CATALUNYA AND CASTILLA
In 1895 the VI General Chapter was celebrated in Cervera (September 3-16), this time an extraordinary Chapter. In it the Congregation was divided into two Provinces: Catalunya and Castilla. But, lacking precise legislation on the powers of the Provincial Governments, there continued to be excessive intervention by the General Government, especially by the Superior General. There were no elections of a new General Government.
The Province of Catalunya included: Catalonia, Aragon, Valencia and Murcia; the Balearic and Canary Islands; USA, Mexico and other Central American Republics. Fr. Felix Alejandro Cepeda, a Chilean, was elected as the first Provincial. The first foundations of the Province were: Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1896), Sabadell and Olesa de Montserrat (1899); all in Spain.
The Province of Castilla included: the two former Castillas, Extremadura, Andalusia, Leon, Navarre, Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country and the Republics of South America. Fr. Isaac Burgos was elected as the first Provincial. The first foundation of the Province was that of Aranda de Duero (1897), in Spain.
Lorenzo ArrazolaMinister of the Government of Spain (1797-1857)
Checa (Guadalajara, Spain). He was one of the most outstanding political figures of the 19th century in Spain. He studied at the seminary in Leon. He left the seminary to enter the army when he was 26 years old. He earned a doctorate in Jurisprudence in Valladolid. He belonged to the moderate party. He was a royal adviser, President of the Supreme Court, Representative and Senator. He served as the Minister of Grace and Justice for 7 terms. He distinguished himself as an orator and writer. He was the author of an Enciclopedia de Derecho y Administracion [Encyclopedia of Law and Administration] and of other literary works in prose and verse: a philosophy booklet and a memoir about earthquakes. As Minister in 1849, he insisted that Father Claret accept the appointment as Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. They had good correspondence and a true friendship. During Claret’s stay in Madrid as the confessor of Isabella II, Arrazola frequented his house. He was a member of the first hierarchy of the Academy of St. Michael. He died on February 23, 1857, in Madrid.
Sent to Evangelize the Poor
The Lord made me understand that I would not only have to preach to sinners but that I would also have to preach to and catechize simple farmers and villagers. Hence He said to me: The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none, their tongue is parched with thirst. I, Yahweh, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them (ibid, 17). I will make rivers well up on barren heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys; turn the wilderness into a lake, and dry ground into a water spring (ibid., 18). And God our Lord made me understand in a very special way those words: Spiritus Dominis super me et evangelizare pauperibus misit me Dominus et sanare contritos corde. (Aut 118)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
- Do you keep in mind that you have been anointed by the Spirit to be a missionary?
- Who are the “poor” to whom the Spirit sends you to evangelize?
- What are the geographical and existential peripheries that await the proclamation of the Gospel today in the environment in which you find yourself?
To come to possess all, desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all, desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all, desire the knowledge of nothing.”
(St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, I.13.11)